The first Catholic parish in Fort Worth was formed in 1876 when Bishop Claude Dubuis of Galveston assigned Father Thomas Loughrey to Fort Worth. Within three months of his arrival a modest frame church was built in the 1200 block of Throckmorton Street. Named in honor of St. Stanislaus Kostka, the Polish Jesuit saint, the first High Mass was celebrated October 29, 1876. Fr. Loughrey also used the building as a school, drawing a curtain across the sanctuary during class hours.
In 1884, Father Loughrey was replaced by Father Jean Marie Guyot, a native of France and ordained in Galveston December 17, 1870. Within four years, on October 14, 1888, the cornerstone of a new church to be built just north of St. Stanislaus Church, was put in place and dedicated by Bishop Nicholas Gallagher of Galveston. The cornerstone, a slab of limestone, had been engraved on the three sides which would be visible. One side had been marked with a simple cross, the opposite side bore the date “1888” and the name of the architect, J.J. Kane. The side which would face the street showed the words, “St. Patrick Church.” The new church was to bear a new name. The Irish majority had voted to name the church after their patron saint. Designed by architect James J. Kane of Fort Worth, the Gothic Revival native stone structure was modeled after the magnificent churches Father Guyot remembered in his native France. By the time of its dedication four years later, the Diocese of Dallas had been formed and Bishop Thomas Brennan, the first bishop of the new diocese, assisted by Archbishop Francis Janssens of New Orleans, presided at the dedication on July 10, 1892. The St. Stanislaus building continued to be used as a school until it was removed in 1908 and replaced by the present rectory.
At the request of Bishop Gallagher, the Sisters of St. Mary of Namur arrived in Fort Worth in 1885 and opened a parochial school, St. Ignatius Academy. They purchased two houses on Throckmorton Street just south of St. Stanislaus church and opened that fall with 29 students. As the enrollment rapidly grew, the Sisters hired James J. Kane to design a building in French Second Empire style. The four-story building was ready for occupancy by 1889, with both boarding and day students. The Sisters eventually moved to a larger school on Hemphill Street, and in 1956 the bishop of Dallas purchased the St. Ignatius building from them. It existed as a parochial school until 1962, but was eventually converted to classroom and offices for the St. Patrick School of Religion. Although the School of Religion has moved to a newer building further south on Throckmorton Street, the St. Ignatius building is still part of the cathedral complex and is the only building of its design in existence today in Fort Worth.
In 1953 St. Patrick Church was raised to the status of co-Cathedral, sharing the honor with Sacred Heart Cathedral in Dallas, and the diocese of Dallas was renamed the Diocese of Dallas-Fort Worth. On August 22, 1969, Pope Paul VI separated 28 counties of north central Texas from the Diocese of Dallas and established the Diocese of Fort Worth. The co-Cathedral of St. Patrick was named the Cathedral of the new diocese.
Today, St. Patrick Cathedral is the mother church of a diocese that encompasses 23,950 square miles and includes over 980,000 Catholics in 90 parishes.
If you are interested in taking a tour and seeing these items up close, please contact the Parish Office at 817-332-4915.